skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on May 1, 2023

Title: Emergent Bilingual Middle Schoolers’ Syncretic Reasoning in Statistical Modeling
Background/Context: Bi/multilingual students’ STEM learning is better supported when educators leverage their language and cultural practices as resources, but STEM subject divisions have been historically constructed based on oppressive, dominant values and exclude the ways of knowing of nondominant groups. Truly promoting equity requires expanding and transforming STEM disciplines. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This article contributes to efforts to illuminate emergent bi/multilingual students’ ways of knowing, languaging, and doing in STEM. We follow the development of syncretic literacies in relation to translanguaging practices, asking, How do knowledges and practices from different communities get combined and reorganized by students and teachers in service of new modeling practices? Setting and Participants: We focus on a seventh-grade science classroom, deliberately designed to support syncretic literacies and translanguaging practices, where computer science concepts were infused into the curriculum through modeling activities. The majority of the students in the bilingual program had arrived in the United States at most three years before enrolling, from the Caribbean and Central and South America. Research Design: We analyze one lesson that was part of a larger research–practice partnership focused on teaching computer science through leveraging translanguaging practices and syncretic literacies. The lesson was a modeling and computing activity more » codesigned by the teacher and two researchers about post–Hurricane María outmigration from Puerto Rico. Analysis used microethnographic methods to trace how students assembled translanguaging, social, and schooled practices to make sense of and construct models. Findings/Results: Findings show how students assembled representational forms from a variety of practices as part of accomplishing and negotiating both designed and emergent goals. These included sensemaking, constructing, explaining, justifying, and interpreting both the physical and computational models of migration. Conclusions/Recommendations: Implications support the development of theory and pedagogy that intentionally make space for students to engage in meaning-making through translanguaging and syncretic practices in order to provide new possibilities for lifting up STEM learning that may include, but is not constrained by, disciplinary learning. Additional implications for teacher education and student assessment practices call for reconceptualizing schooling beyond day-to-day curriculum as part of making an ontological shift away from prioritizing math, science, and CS disciplinary and language objectives as defined by and for schooling, and toward celebrating, supporting, and centering students’ diverse, syncretic knowledges and knowledge use. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1837446 1738645
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10352913
Journal Name:
Teachers College Record: The Voice of Scholarship in Education
Volume:
124
Issue:
5
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
206 to 228
ISSN:
0161-4681
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Engaging students in science learning that integrates disciplinary knowledge and practices such as computational thinking (CT) is a challenge that may represent unfamiliar territory for many teachers. CompHydro Baltimore is a collaborative partnership aimed at enacting Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)–aligned instruction to support students in developing knowledge and practice reflective of the goals laid out in A Framework for K–12 Science Education (National Research Council 2012) “... that by the end of 12th grade, all students possess sufficient knowledge of science and engineering to engage in public discussion on related issues … and are careful consumers of scientific and technological information related to their everyday lives.” This article presents the results of a partnership that generated a new high school level curriculum and teacher professional development program that tackled the challenge of integrating hydrologic learning with computational thinking as applied to a real-world issue of flooding. CompHydro Baltimore produced Baltimore Floods, a six-lesson high school unit that builds students’ water literacy by engaging them in computational thinking (CT) and modeling practices as they learn about water system processes involved in urban flooding (See Computational Thinking and Associated Science Practices). CompHydro demonstrates that broad partnerships can address these challenges, bringingmore »together the diverse expertise necessary to develop innovative CT-infused science curriculum materials and the teacher supports needed for successful implementation.« less
  2. Bilingual education has described a process called translanguaging by which students use linguistic resources across and beyond multiple named languages to learn. Here, we examine how bilingual learners translanguage while learning computer science. These middle schoolers participated in a curricular intervention which infused computational thinking into their Spanish-English bilingual language arts class. Through a descriptive qualitative methodology, we document classroom moments supporting four claims: 1) students’ translanguaging blurs linguistic, disciplinary, and modal boundaries, 2) computational literacies are intertwined with students’ other literacies , 3) students’ attitudes about language and the contexts around them play a role in their translanguaging, and 4) students translanguage to engage in specific CT practices.
  3. This fundamental research in pre-college education engineering study investigates the ways in which elementary school students and their teacher balance the tradeoffs in engineering design. STEM education reforms promote the engagement of K-12 students in the epistemic practices of disciplinary experts to teach content.1,2,3 This emphasis on practices is a paradigm shift that requires both extensive professional development and research to learn about the ways in which students and teacher learn about and participate in these practices. Balancing tradeoffs is an important practice in engineering but most often in classroom curricula it is embedded in the concept of iteration1,4; however, improving a design is not always the same as balancing trade-offs.1 Optimizing a multivariate problem requires students to engage in a number of engineering practices, like considering multiple solution, making tradeoffs between criteria and constraints, applying math and science knowledge to problem solving, constructing models, making evidence-based decisions, and assessing the implications of solutions5. The ways in which teachers and students collectively balance these tradeoffs in a design has been understudied1. Our primary research questions are, “How do teachers and students make decisions about making tradeoffs between criteria and constraints” and “How do experiences in teacher workshops affect the waysmore »they implement engineering projects in their classes.” We take an ethnographic perspective to investigate these phenomena, and collected video data, field notes, student journals, and semi-structured interviews of eight elementary teachers in a workshop and similar data from two of the workshop teachers’ classes as they implemented the curriculum they learned in the workshop. Our analyses focus on the disciplinary practices teachers and students use to make decisions for balancing tradeoffs, how they are supported (or impeded) by teachers, and how they justify these decisions. Similarly, we compared two of the teachers wearing their “student hat” in the workshop as well as their “teacher hat” in the classroom5. Our analyses suggest three significant findings. First, teachers and students tended to focus on one criterion (e.g. cost, performance) and had few discussions about trying to minimize cost and maximize performance. Second, curriculum design significantly impacts the choices students make. Using two examples, we will show the impact of weighting criteria differently on the design strategies teachers and students make. Last, we noted most of the feedback given was related to managing classroom activity rather than supporting students’ designs. Implications of this study are relevant to both engineering educators and engineering curriculum developers.« less
  4. As K-12 engineering education becomes more ubiquitous in the U.S, increased attention has been paid to preparing the heterogeneous group of in-service teachers who have taken on the challenge of teaching engineering. Standards have emerged for professional development along with research on teacher learning in engineering that call for teachers to facilitate and support engineering learning environments. Given that many teachers may not have experienced engineering practice calls have been made to engage teaches K-12 teachers in the “doing” of engineering as part of their preparation. However, there is a need for research studying more specific nature of the “doing” and the instructional implications for engaging teachers in “doing” engineering. In general, to date, limited time and constrained resources necessitate that many professional development programs for K-12 teachers to engage participants in the same engineering activities they will enact with their students. While this approach supports teachers’ familiarity with curriculum and ability to anticipate students’ ideas, there is reason to believe that these experiences may not be authentic enough to support teachers in developing a rich understanding of the “doing” of engineering. K-12 teachers are often familiar with the materials and curricular solutions, given their experiences as adults, which meansmore »that engaging in the same tasks as their students may not be challenging enough to develop their understandings about engineering. This can then be consequential for their pedagogy: In our prior work, we found that teachers’ linear conceptions of the engineering design process can limit them from recognizing and supporting student engagement in productive design practices. Research on the development of engineering design practices with adults in undergraduate and professional engineering settings has shown significant differences in how adults approach and understand problems. Therefore, we conjectured that engaging teachers in more rigorous engineering challenges designed for adult engineering novices would more readily support their developing rich understandings of the ways in which professional engineers move through the design process. We term this approach meaningful engineering for teachers, and it is informed by work in science education that highlights the importance of learning environments creating a need for learners to develop and engage in disciplinary practices. We explored this approach to teachers’ professional learning experiences in doing engineering in an online graduate program for in-service teachers in engineering education at Tufts University entitled the Teacher Engineering Education Program (teep.tufts.edu). In this exploratory study, we asked: 1. How did teachers respond to engaging in meaningful engineering for teachers in the TEEP program? 2. What did teachers identify as important things they learned about engineering content and pedagogy? This paper focuses on one theme that emerged from teachers’ reflections. Our analysis found that teachers reported that meaningful engineering supported their development of epistemic empathy (“the act of understanding and appreciating someone's cognitive and emotional experience within an epistemic activity”) as a result of their own affective experiences in doing engineering that required significant iteration as well as using novel robotic materials. We consider how epistemic empathy may be an important aspect of teacher learning in K-12 engineering education and the potential implications for designing engineering teacher education.« less
  5. This research paper presents preliminary results of an NSF-supported interdisciplinary collaboration between undergraduate engineering students and preservice teachers. The fields of engineering and elementary education share similar challenges when it comes to preparing undergraduate students for the new demands they will encounter in their profession. Engineering students need interprofessional skills that will help them value and negotiate the contributions of various disciplines while working on problems that require a multidisciplinary approach. Increasingly, the solutions to today's complex problems must integrate knowledge and practices from multiple disciplines and engineers must be able to recognize when expertise from outside their field can enhance their perspective and ability to develop innovative solutions. However, research suggests that it is challenging even for professional engineers to understand the roles, responsibilities, and integration of various disciplines, and engineering curricula have traditionally left little room for development of non-technical skills such as effective communication with a range of audiences and an ability to collaborate in multidisciplinary teams. Meanwhile, preservice teachers need new technical knowledge and skills that go beyond traditional core content knowledge, as they are now expected to embed engineering into science and coding concepts into traditional subject areas. There are nationwide calls to integrate engineeringmore »and coding into PreK-6 education as part of a larger campaign to attract more students to STEM disciplines and to increase exposure for girls and minority students who remain significantly underrepresented in engineering and computer science. Accordingly, schools need teachers who have not only the knowledge and skills to integrate these topics into mainstream subjects, but also the intention to do so. However, research suggests that preservice teachers do not feel academically prepared and confident enough to teach engineering-related topics. This interdisciplinary project provided engineering students with an opportunity to develop interprofessional skills as well as to reinforce their technical knowledge, while preservice teachers had the opportunity to be exposed to engineering content, more specifically coding, and develop competence for their future teaching careers. Undergraduate engineering students enrolled in a computational methods course and preservice teachers enrolled in an educational technology course partnered to plan and deliver robotics lessons to fifth and sixth graders. This paper reports on the effects of this collaboration on twenty engineering students and eight preservice teachers. T-tests were used to compare participants’ pre-/post- scores on a coding quiz. A post-lesson written reflection asked the undergraduate students to describe their robotics lessons and what they learned from interacting with their cross disciplinary peers and the fifth/sixth graders. Content analysis was used to identify emergent themes. Engineering students’ perceptions were generally positive, recounting enjoyment interacting with elementary students and gaining communication skills from collaborating with non-technical partners. Preservice teachers demonstrated gains in their technical knowledge as measured by the coding quiz, but reported lacking the confidence to teach coding and robotics independently of their partner engineering students. Both groups reported gaining new perspectives from working in interdisciplinary teams and seeing benefits for the fifth and sixth grade participants, including exposing girls and students of color to engineering and computing.« less